Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Bipartisan Leaders Urge Expedited Haitian Family Reunification

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:           Steven Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH),, 786 877 6999 (English and Kreyol) Bipartisan Leaders Urge Expedited Haitian Family Reunification (BOSTON, June 5, 2014) — President Obama has received three new pleas for the Department of Homeland Security to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (FRPP) to speed entry into the United States of nearly 110,000 beneficiaries of DHS-approved family-based visa petitions who remain on wait lists of up to over 12 years in Haiti. Democrat Alcee Hastings and Republican Mario Diaz-Balart co-sponsored a May 30 letter to the President signed by 63 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging him to create this program “to save lives and accelerate Haiti’s recovery efforts.”  Signatories included Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, […]

Miami Archbishop Supports Haitian Family Reunification

Archbishop of Miami Thomas G.Wenski wrote an excellent op-ed urging that DHS immediately create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, a course strongly urged in the bipartisan May 30 letter to the President by 63 Congresspersons including ranking Foreign Affairs committee and Immigration subcommittee members, ten of their committee colleagues and the members of the South Florida delegation. Create plan for Haitians equal to one for Cubans Thomas Wenski, Sun Sentinel May 31, 2014 One example of how our present immigration system is broken are the numbers of people who have been already approved to immigrate legally to the United States but who languish waiting approval to travel to the U.S. Some are told they may have to wait 12 years for their number to be called. Right now the Department of Homeland Security has approved family-based immigrant visa petitions […]

Haitian Americans Urge Obama to Speed Up Visa Processing for Relatives

Georgia East, Sun Sentinel May 30, 2012 As Haitian Heritage month wraps up, Haitian American leaders are urging President Barack Obama to expedite the immigration process for tens of thousands of Haitians waiting for permission to live in the United States. It is estimated that about 112,000 Haitians are on the waiting list for visas to join their families in this country. Of those, more than 15,000 are children and spouses of U.S. citizens. In February, the Florida Senate approved a resolution urging Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, joining dozens of members of Congress who are also pushing for the measure. A similar program was created in 2007 for Cubans approved to join relatives here. “Basically the administration has been ignoring the needs of these families and the Haitian American community is extremely disappointed,” said Steve Forester, immigration […]

Steve Forester, End Glaring Double Standard to Help Haiti (Sun Sentinel)

By Steve Forester, Sun Sentinel Op-ed Jan 17, 2011 South Florida’s congressional delegation can play a key role in helping hundreds of thousands of Haitians and Haitian-Americans in Haiti and the United States by strongly urging Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Obama to end a glaring double standard. Before last January’s quake, DHS had approved immigrant visa petitions for about 55,000 Haitians who nevertheless remain in Haiti today, and in danger from cholera, tent city conditions, and environmental and political turmoil. Unbelievably, they’re slated to stay on a wait list there up to 11 more years — inevitably, some won’t survive — before joining their families here, even though DHS approved them over a year ago. On Jan. 11, Florida U. S. Sen. Bill Nelson joined Sens. Kisten Gillibrand, Patrick Leahy, John Kerry, Bob Menendez, and […]

Deportations to Haiti halted temporarily

By Georgia East and Luis Perez South Florida Sun-Sentinel Immigrations Custom Enforcement has temporarily halted deportations to Haiti, amid mounting pressure from some South Florida congressional leaders and local activists. Many have argued that it’s inhumane to send people to Haiti at a time when the country has been devastated by back-to-back storms. “We are aware of the situation on the ground and based on that there are no removals planned,” said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for ICE. ICE said it will further review the situation in Haiti on a day-to-day basis, to determine how long the halt will last. “When we feel it is appropriate to resume we will notify Congress,” Gonzalez said.

Remittances are too low

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial It’s easy to forget, when lamenting about high gas prices and the mortgage crisis, that the U.S. economy does not only affect the residents of this country. In South Florida, where immigrants are the financial lifeline for relatives in their home countries, the economic strain also reverberates in the Caribbean and Latin America. Statistics unfortunately now show that remittances to Mexico, for example, have dropped so low that businesses and construction projects are in jeopardy. The payments have decreased by about 2 percent this year to $11.6 billion, The Associated Press reported. Experts put the blame on the sluggish U.S. economy. This also raises concerns about Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. With the country now struggling with a food shortage and natural disaster due to recent hurricanes, the citizens of Haiti and other […]

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